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  • October 17, 2013

Dear CSS3

When Dan Cederholm introduced us that spring afternoon at An Event Apart in 2010, I took one look at you and thought, “What a dreamboat.” Decorative Illustration I knew you were going to change my life. We took things pretty slow at first—I experimented with button and gradient generators while marveling at your features. “You mean, no more cutting gradient background images? And wait, I can just round those corners however I want?!” At the time, my exploration focused on replicating classic Photoshop effects. I had no idea that that was just a small part of what you could do. Since then, you’ve brought so much adventure into my life, creating effects that I could never dream up in Photoshop.

I want to take a moment to thank you and point out some of your finest qualities.

You’re surprising and delightful

Before we met, my designs were fine. They looked good and served the site’s content well, but I knew there was something missing. Sure, my designs were perfectly functional, but as Aaron Walter said, “[making websites] ‘usable’ is like a chef making his food ‘edible.’” Since getting to know you, you’ve helped me bring that extra layer of surprise and delight to my designs. Your enhancements to the experience layer of a site are inspiring. Sometimes you’re in the background, setting the mood with subtle movement. Other times, you’re enriching form field interactions with animated focus states. I even spotted you once on a pie site, adding a playful interaction that fit perfectly with the company’s brand. Regardless of the occasion, I know I can count on you to add pizazz without creating extraneous noise.

You’re shapely

With a few lines of code, you help me make rounded avatars with no additional images. I think we can both agree that circles have ousted squares as the “it” shape of the web. An avatar inside of a square is boring and lame. Place that photo inside of a circle and it’s instantly fun. Without you, I’d waste away cutting images instead of spending time making my work innovative. As an added bonus, if someday the web community decides to adopt parallelograms as the hot, new shape, I know that you’ve got my back.

You’re a diplomat

I love you even more because you’ve brought me closer to the developers on my team. Because of you, we no longer debate about whether adding visual flair will be worth the pain. Now, I hover for hours! My favorite part about you, CSS3, is that you’ve inspired all of us to be a little more adventurous and a lot more collaborative. We all work together fine-tuning details and adding small touches that will make our designs come alive while still degrading gracefully.

I know that you’ve still got plenty of tricks up your sleeve. Maybe someday we’ll be able to use your superpowers for more critical site elements, but for now, I’m just happy to have you in my life.


Want to fall in love with CSS3 too? Check out Stephen Caver’s recently released course on the Fundamentals of CSS3 for The Happy Cog Way, then come back and add to Yesenia’s letter.

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